Your Military

Reporter takes heat for shooting at ISIS

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED

A Marine veteran turned journalist has been recalled from Iraq after tweeting a picture showing him shooting at ISIS fighters.

On Thursday, Jason Buttrill tweeted a picture of him with a sniper rifle along with the the message: "Major bucket list completed. Shoot at #ISIS ? Check!"

Buttrill also tweeted that he fired six shots at the enemy.  "ISIS looked like ants on that scope, but...my USMC PMI [primary marksmanship instructor] was exceptional."


The Blaze initially wrote a story extolling Buttrill for taking part in the action, but they issued a statement on Friday that his actions were unacceptable.

"Jason Buttrill is a valued researcher for Mercury Radio Arts for a television show that airs on TheBlaze network," the statement says. "Given his military and security background, Mr. Buttrill was offered the opportunity for an important research assignment in Iraq. Due to his conduct, Mercury Radio Arts has recalled him back to the US. He has been suspended from further field research assignments."

Buttrell served as an intelligence specialist in the Marine Corps from January 1999 to January 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, according to Manpower & Reserve Affairs. He was promoted to sergeant in July 2004 while serving in the Individual Ready Reserve.

Journalists such as Marine veteran C.J. Chivers of the New York Times criticized that Buttrill for becoming a combatant.

"Dude, when you get shot we can't really go 'oh boo-hoo for journalism,' can we?" Chivers tweeted on Friday. "How about knocking off the bulls**t."


War correspondent Michael Yon, who took part in a firefight in Iraq in 2005, condemned Buttrill as a combatant using journalism as a cover.

"If he represents himself as a combatant who also dabbles in writing, he is fine, but if he represents himself as a journalist with a sniper rifle shooting at the enemy, he is off the rails," Yon wrote in an email to Military Times.

"I did fire a rifle once in very close combat in Mosul.  Hand-to-hand combat was going on within spitting distance, the commander was hit three times just close to me.  My engagement was defensive.  Nobody else was there to fight, so I tried to save our Soldiers.  I never engaged in mercenary or offensive action," Yon wrote.

Buttrill could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday. The Blaze declined to comment when contacted by Military Times. A Pentagon spokesman deferred questions about whether reporters in Iraq can be armed to the Iraqis and Kurds. 

The U.S. has no embed program for journalists in Iraq, but reporters can arrange embeds directly with Iraqi security forces, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said.

"We do not accept responsibility for reporters and do not have the logistical capabilities to provide basic life support or transportation to media in Northern Iraq," said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Colon.

Jason Stern, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, tweeted that Buttrill had put journalists in danger by shooting at ISIS fighters.

"Jason, journalists are detained and killed all over the world over false accusations of being combatants," Stern tweeted on Friday. "This doesn't help."

Recommended for you
Around The Web
Comments